UCSF Fresno Celebrates SJV PRIME Students, All Incoming Residents

Match Day 2023: UCSF Fresno Celebrated First Class of UCSF SJV PRIME Students, All Incoming Residents

In 2019, six students entered the then brand-new UCSF San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (SJV PRIME). They were the first cohort in a unique UCSF School of Medicine track for aspiring physicians interested in caring for underserved communities, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley. The students spent the first 18 months at the main campus in San Francisco and the next two and a half years conducting clinical training at UCSF Fresno. Four years later on Match Day, those students marked the first UCSF SJV PRIME students to pursue residencies.

A UC Davis SJV PRIME student also is completing training and participated in the Match along with the UCSF students.

UCSF Fresno celebrated the SJV PRIME students and all incoming residents on March 17 – Match Day – the day when the identities were revealed of 73 medical residents (interns), including three of the UCSF SJV PRIME students, and four oral and maxillofacial surgery residents who will start their residency training this summer at UCSF Fresno

Match Day takes place every year in mid-March and is the time when graduating medical students across the U.S. learn where they will spend the next several years conducting clinical training under faculty supervision, known as their medical residency. Residency training is required prior to practicing medicine independently in the United States. 

UCSF Fresno currently offers residency training in eight medical specialties, one oral and maxillofacial surgery dental residency, fellowship training in 20 medical sub-specialties, one dental sub-specialty as well as two residency programs for physician assistants. 

“Match Day is an important milestone on the path to becoming a physician and is a joyous occasion,” said Stacy Sawtelle Vohra, MD, interim Designated Institutional Official and Emergency Medicine Residency Program Director at UCSF Fresno. “An influx of physicians to care for patients in a region with a well-documented shortage of doctors is always a cause for celebration. It is especially exciting that the first group of UCSF SJV PRIME students participated in the Match. We congratulate them and look forward to welcoming all our interns this summer.” 

Graduating medical students typically register with the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) as part of the Match Day process. The NRMP utilizes a mathematical algorithm to place applicants into residency positions. Medical school graduates then begin residency training at the hospital or program where they “matched” as interns. A similar “match” occurs each year in December for physicians entering advanced sub-specialty fellowship training.

The UCSF Fresno residency programs that participated in the NRMP match received 8,041 applications and conducted 998 interviews for 73 positions. UCSF Fresno fellowship programs that took part in the October/December NRMP match received 1,885 applications and conducted 220 interviews for 20 positions. Non-NRMP programs filled available positions through another matching service or through interviews and offers. The UCSF Fresno Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency Program received 147 applications and conducted 20 interviews for four available spots. 

Training Physicians in the Valley for the Valley 

The six students of the UCSF SJV PRIME Class of 2023 are the first to receive medical degrees from the UCSF School of Medicine, and three will be continuing their medical career journey at UCSF Fresno for residency. SJV PRIME started in 2011 in partnership with the UC Davis School of Medicine, UC Merced, UCSF, and UCSF Fresno as a program to train physicians for the region. In 2018, the UCSF School of Medicine became the medical degree granting institution, paving the way for students to spend most of their time training at UCSF Fresno. 

“We applaud all of the SJV PRIME graduating students and are excited that three of them are staying at UCSF Fresno and one is going to UCSF for residency,” said Kenny Banh, MD, assistant dean for Undergraduate Medical Education at UCSF Fresno. “SJV PRIME students spend the majority of their training in the region. The more time they spend here – learning and caring for the community – the more likely they are to stay to practice.”    

The San Joaquin Valley and Inland Empire have the lowest physician to patient ratios in the state, according to many reports including California Physicians: A Portrait of Practice by the California Health Care Foundation.  

“The aim of SJV PRIME is to increase the Valley’s physician workforce by taking students from the Valley, training them here, and encouraging residency training in the region with the hope they will stay to practice,” said Loren Alving, MD, director of the UCSF SJV PRIME. “We are very proud of our students and pleased that they are staying in California and the region.” Statistics show that physicians tend to practice near where they complete training or where they grew up, which is a rationale for SJV PRIME. Graduating SJV PRIME students in 2023 echo the desire to serve underserved communities and provide care where it is needed most. 


What SJV PRIME Students Are Saying 

I’m really excited, really blessed to have matched here. I get to stay here and help the community that helped shape who I am.

Amitoj Singh of Fresno, UCSF SJV PRIME Class of 2023, matched with the UCSF Fresno Psychiatry Residency Program


I was lucky enough to have matched here at UCSF Fresno in Internal Medicine. The whole point of this program is to train future Valley doctors and hopefully keep us in the Valley. I couldn’t be more excited to continue my training here.

Marcus Cummins of Fresno/Clovis, UCSF SJV PRIME Class of 2023, matched with UCSF Fresno Medicine Residency Program



I’m excited because I get to practice the type of medicine that I believe will serve the community and that is Psychiatry and I’m really excited to move on to the next phase of my journey.

Jacqueline A. Leon, MPH, of Fresno, UC Davis SJV PRIME Class of 2023, matched with UCSF School of Medicine Psychiatry Residency Program, who wants to serve Spanish-speaking patients and marginalized communities



Part of Newsletter: Focus on UCSF Fresno, Spring 2023